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Western Slopes gas pipeline demise welcome, spells further uncertainty for Santos

APA Group’s failure to submit an Environmental Impact Statement for its controversial Western Slopes Pipeline by the deadline this week raises doubt over the future of the fiercely opposed Santos Narrabri gasfield, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.

An email (see below) sent to members of the Western Slopes Pipeline Community Consultative Committee yesterday (May 5) revealed the company had not submitted its EIS by the due date (May 4).

The Western Slopes pipeline would have sent gas from Santos’ Narrabri Project 460km south to connect with the Moomba Sydney gas pipeline near Condobolin.

North west NSW stock and station agent and beef producer David Chadwick, whose property would have been covered by three kilometres of APA’s pipeline, said he was cautiously optimistic following the news.

“Given the performance of the gas industry, and all the smoke and mirrors it puts up, perhaps APA has looked at the economics of and massive community opposition to Santos’ Narrabri project and determined it would become a stranded asset and a very bad business decision to base a pipeline on,” he said.

“The market is moving at breakneck speed towards renewables, and to think the Morrison Government is subsidising this filthy industry using taxpayer money and almost unanimous community opposition, really makes you wonder what’s going on between the government and gas industry.

“We didn’t want this pipeline due to the biosecurity threat and the contamination risks the Santos gasfield poses to the Great Artesian Basin.

“Gas is mother nature’s melanoma and to kill off our water in a pointless quest for a sunset industry is nothing short of disgraceful.”

Narrabri businessman and Western Slopes Pipeline Community Consultative Committee member Rohan Boehm said it was an “unmitigated bust for APA”.

“This is one of the country’s largest pipeline businesses that is now investing in renewable energy and hasn’t even turned up for the show for its proposed gas pipeline,” he said.

“If you want anything indicative of the decline of new gas projects - this is it.

“Even three years ago it was considered that by the 2020s we would be where we are now in terms of energy transformation. This indicates a massive decline in the viability of fossil fuels generally in Australia."

Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said the APA announcement meant Santos was looking “increasingly isolated”.

“The local community has been waiting and worrying about this pipeline, just like it is waiting and worrying about the zombie PELs,” she said.

“We’re sick and tired of the government dancing to the tune of the gas industry and making rural communities live in uncertainty for years.”

However, Lock the Gate Alliance remains concerned after APA Group announced it had done a deal with notorious frackers Origin Energy to “expand capacity” of existing infrastructure on the east coast to bring CSG and fracked gas south from Queensland.


Email to CCC members:

Subject: APA Western Slopes Pipeline Project
Date: Wednesday, May 05, 2021 13:12
Dear Committee Members,
It has been sometime since I last contacted you - November 2018 in fact. At that time APA advised that it intended to delay lodgement of the EIS for the pipeline project until the application for the Narrabri Gas Project had been determined.
The SEARs for the Westerrn Slopes Pipeline Project required the project application and EIS to be lodged with the DPIE by 4 May 2021. APA has advised today that it did not lodge the application and EIS yesterday (Tuesday). I understand APA is now considering its options in relation to the project.
I will keep you advised of any developments in respect of the pipeline project.

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  • 💧Jill Walker 🐨
    commented 2021-05-09 23:01:30 +1000
    Sorry I’m not up with all this, I only know I wish Santos bankruptcy and destruction asap.